When 16-year-old high school student Gabrielle Oliveira first heard about Dr. Dirk, she had already struggled with the negative effects of obesity for years.
From the age of 12, Gabrielle had high blood sugar and cholesterol levels as a result of being overweight. Her obesity also affected her confidence, causing her to feel depressed and avoid social events.
Following her vertical gastric sleeve procedure in August 2016, Gabrielle is a new person.
She lost 71 pounds, bringing her blood sugar and cholesterol levels under control. She now has the energy for regular exercise — especially hiking, her new favorite activity — as well as the motivation to eat a healthy diet.
Most importantly, Gabrielle enjoys a newfound confidence and security in her body. She has become outgoing and open, and at a trim 139 pounds, she wins compliments from strangers and friends alike.
We talked to Gabrielle about her weight loss journey and her experience with Dr. Dirk.
How was your life before the procedure?
Before the surgery, I struggled a lot with my confidence and health. Eating was a way to comfort myself and relieve stress, but it left me wincing at the sight of my body in mirrors and pictures.
I also struggled with health problems. Every doctor warned me that if I didn’t make changes to my lifestyle, I would become diabetic and have heart problems.
What motivated you to have surgery?
I was on the road to permanently destroying my health at only 16 years old. I also hated my body and was not comfortable going out and meeting people. This put a hold of my social life and led to depression.
After a lot of research and many failed diets, my mom and I came across Dr. Dirk. At my first visit to Dr. Dirk’s office, I learned about the surgery options. Dr. Dirk assured me that the procedure would change my life for the absolute best.
The more I learned about the surgery, the more confident I became that this was what I wanted.
How has your life changed since your procedure?
I feel like a completely different person. As far as my health is concerned, I feel great. I lost 71 pounds, my blood sugar levels are normal and my cholesterol has dropped significantly.
Because of my surgery, I am able to do more now. My confidence soars over my former depression and social anxiety, and I’m able to go out and feel confident and happy about the way I’m living and the way my body looks.
How have you changed your diet and exercise?
Before my surgery, eating healthy felt like a chore. It had no effect of my weight, and I would become discouraged. Now eating healthy feels good. It’s something I want to do.
In terms of exercise, I can take my body to the next level. Before the surgery, I didn’t exercise because I just felt sluggish and had no energy. But now I do a lot of aerobic exercise and weight lifting. I feel like my body can handle it.
What kind of response have you gotten from friends and family?
My family and friends have been very supportive. I even get noticed by strangers who compliment me without even knowing about my journey!
How was your experience with Dr. Dirk?
Dr. Dirk gave me so much information and made me feel like I was more than just a patient.
In my visits to his office before the surgery, he told me what the surgery would do and what my life would be like after the surgery. He visited with me frequently after the surgery to make sure everything was good.
During my follow-up visits throughout the year, he checked on my progress and he still continues to educate me on weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle.
How has your outlook on life changed?
When living healthy and treating your body right becomes a priority, you begin to realize that you can take your life to different places. You can do so much more without worrying.
The biggest eye-opener has been being able to exercise and feel good about it. I don’t dread spending an hour and a half at the gym anymore. That experience has shown me that the surgery has changed my life.
Would you recommend weight loss surgery and Dr. Dirk?
Absolutely. Dr. Dirk makes you feel 100 percent comfortable and safe in his hands. Without this surgery, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today. I am living the happiest and healthiest life I could ever live.